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In The Hoop

Welcome to In The Hoop, Indianz.Com's occasional column about assorted Indian issues.

McCaleb survives NAC, Amen!
Neal McCaleb, Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs, survived his first radio appearance on Native America Calling today, promising to make future visits to the nationally-broadcast program.

McCaleb took a number of questions on federal recognition, sovereignty, gaming and economic development. Not surprisingly, he pushed his role as evangelist to Indian Country, which at one point prompted host Harlan McKosato to say "Amen."

McCaleb responded with an "Amen" of his own. Preach it, brother!

It wasn't all fun and games, though. A clearly frustrated Standing Rock Sioux tribal member called to complain about his experiences with his local Bureau of Indian Affairs office. It seems the folks at Fort Yates in North Dakota haven't been able to help him track down trust land passed down from his mother.

McCaleb told the caller to write directly to him to make sure he gets satisfactory treatment. He also said he will be visiting a trust fund office in New Mexico with Secretary of Interior Gale Norton on Friday to see how the government is handling the records of individual Indians and tribes.

The Department of Interior's Office of Trust Records is currently being investigated by the special master in the Cobell v. Norton case, by the way. The government has been trying to limit Alan Balaran's probe but were recently rebuffed.

We'll be having a complete report on his appearance tomorrow, so tune in for more of McCaleb on NAC.

A Birthday Shout-Out
Thanks to NAC host Harlan McKosato, all of Indian Country knows its Nedra Darling's birthday tomorrow. Darling is the BIA's director of communications, handling calls from persistent media folks (Indianz.Com included) and random questions from Americans who are proud their grandmother was a Cherokee Indian princess.

Happy Birthday, Nedra!

BIA breakdown?
It seems the BIA have been suffering through a number of computer woes in recent days. Staff members have been unable to send or receive email to anyone outside of the agency.

If you happened to have sent an e-mails, you were most likely to have seen it returned to your inbox with a "Server not responding" error message. But don't worry, say BIA sources, the problem -- which some suggested was caused by Internet viruses -- is being fixed.

Let's just hope the breakdown has nothing to do with a recent court investigator's finding that the Department of Interior has been destroying e-mails. And let's also hope it has nothing to do with the recent departure of the BIA's top computer expert, Dom Nessi.

But we'll let you know if anything shady turns up.

A Passing
The Reagan family has reported that Maureen Reagan died of cancer today at her California home. She was 60.

Reagan, the daughter of former President Ronald Reagan and actress Jane Wyman, had been undergoing radiation treatment for skin cancer which had spread to other parts of her body.

In Your Hoop
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